When Chris Heighington became the 27th player to register 300 NRL games he joked there were 26 legends and himself who had achieved the significant milestone.
His self-deprecating humour however under-sells his value to not only the 2017 Sharks but also to other teams he has represented over an outstanding 14-seasons and an NRL career that includes two premierships, with Heighington an extremely worthy addition to the rugby league’s 300-clup.
Again during 2017 he was a dependable go-to-guy for Sharks coach Shane Flanagan when his big men needed a break, Heighington providing solid back-up and quality minutes when thrust into the action in his 22 games during the season.
While it may have frustrated him not to get more game time, when his role is to give the likes of Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita a rest, it becomes difficult for the coach to expand his minutes to a level that would please a player of Heighington’s long-standing and calibre.
Heighington also played for England in the mid-year Test Match against Samoa and was in line to again represent at the World Cup, which due to the uncertainty surrounding his immediate playing future, may or may not bring down the curtain on a celebrated career
Season highlight: The high point of the season had to be Heighington’s 300th NRL game when the Sharks played the Knights back in round five. It was a game won 19-18 by the Sharks but it was arguably Heighington’s most productive outing of the season, with the veteran making 13 runs, and 10 hit ups for 142 metres in helping to ensure his milestone match was a memorable one.
2017 Stats: Chris Heighington
Games played: 22
Run Metres: 1982
Average run metres: 90.1
Hit ups: 182
Off loads: 8
Average tackles: 14